Journal of Law, Religion & State International Conference: Rule of Law - Religious Perspectives
Call For Papers

November 20-22, 2016, Ramat-Gan, Israel

The encounter of religion with the rule of law may generate tension but also mutual inspiration. The rule of law implies law's supremacy over other normative systems and personal commitments. It also implies that law applies to everyone equally. Religion represents a normative system that may in some areas be different from - and stand in opposition to - state law. Religion may deny the supremacy of state law and pose divine law as supreme instead. It may, alternatively, seek exemptions from state law in those matters where the two conflict.

TOPICS: In this conference we seek to study this tension and discuss the following questions:
- Does religion (in general or a specific religion) accept the rule of state law?
- What are the boundaries (if any) of such acceptance?
- In what cases would religion challenge state law and in what cases would it seek exemptions?
- Can a policy of multiculturalism and of legal pluralism, which give more room to religious freedom, be reconciled with the rule of law or does it undermine it?
- What other policies should states follow in response to these tensions?

Religion may not only compete with state law but also inspire it, which leads us to investigate religion's various understandings of the rule of law. Here is just one example. The concept of law in the context of the rule of law is ambiguous and open to different interpretations. Some (positivists) understand law as a set of rules fixed by social institutions, and others (natural law advocates) understand law as if it includes fundamental principles of justice and morality. Religions may take a position in that debate and contribute not only to the abstract understanding of law, but also to the identification of those moral principles that are part of law. We therefore also plan to explore the following:
- What is the position of religion with regard to the concept of law and the rule of law?
- Many religions developed partial or comprehensive legal systems of their own. Did religions also develop a concept of rule of law? What is its scope and meaning?
- The concept of rule of law also may be used in theological context as a metaphor to understand the boundaries of divine actions and intervention in the world. Is God constrained by law - and by what kind of law: law of nature, morality?

These and similar questions will be discussed in an international conference that will be held at Bar-Ilan University School of Law, Ramat-Gan, Israel, on November 20-22, 2016.

PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: Submissions are invited on the themes outlined above. An abstract of 500 (max.) words should be sent to no later than April 15, 2016. Please indicate academic affiliation and attach a short CV. The conference committee will notify applicants of papers acceptance by the beginning of June, 2016. The participants will be required to submit a first (full) draft of their papers three weeks before the conference. The final papers will be published in the Journal of Law Religion and State subject to review.

Dr. Haim Shapira, Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
Prof. Michael Helfand, Faculty of Law, Pepperdine University, USA
Prof. Zvi Zohar, Faculty of Law, Bar-Ilan University, Israel


Posted 3/17/16